Sunday, March 05, 2006

Shabbat Report

DISCLAIMER: We were criticized recently for including numbers of attendees in the Shabbat Reports, because certain people felt like it created an appearance of competition between campus Jewish orgs (namely Chabad and Hillel). Let it be known: Numbers of attendees do not imply a competition between Chabad and Hillel. We're just recording history as it occurs, and it happens to be that each week upwards of 80 or more students are involved in Shabbat activities. Four years ago it was more like 20-30. G-d counted the Jews because they were precious to G-d. The Lubavitcher Rebbe compared this to one who counts diamonds over and over, just because they are so valuable (and the Rebbe never got tired of meeting with Jews because each one was like a diamond to him). The Jewish revolution is starting in Santa Cruz, and we're reporting the numbers.

This past Friday night, March 3, 2006, Hillel held it's services and dinner at the GLBT Center on campus at Merrill College. According to Scott Fox, a member of the Twelve Tribes Co-op, there were about 20-30 people in attendance. He said there was a "warm atmosphere and good food" and noted that it was Chinese food. During the evening, Jenni Romano announced that she intends to restart Oy Gay Valt, the Hillel group for Jewish gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, or questioning students on campus. Scott also mentioned that "people stayed 'till the bitter end" Friday night.

So I was at the Chabad House Friday night, and it was overflowing again. I would say Ze'ev's estimate last week of 50-70 students would apply this week as well. Not only was the mmm-mmm-good, home-cooked meal rockin' the hizz-ouse, but special guest and community member Leon Kaplan spoke. He told of his revolutionary work with other Jews in the struggle against apartheid in Namibia, South Africa (his home country), and how he was forced to flee to Israel because of his involvement... And of course he fled to Israel, because what other country would accept him with 48 hours notice? He said he lived in real apartheid and fought against it, putting his own welfare on the line. He said people who say that Israel is an apartheid state don't know what apartheid is. Leon also spoke about the sanctity of Shabbat, and I believe he said, "If you want to stay Jewish, you have to be connected with Shabbat." He lauded the efforts of Chabad in general, Chabad on Campus, and especially the Chabad Student Center.

Shlomie didn't speak at length, but of what he said, something particularly stood out to me (please correct me if I remembered this incorrectly). At his brother Zalman's l'chaim this past week, someone asked Zalman if he wanted some l'chaim and he said, "just a little." His father corrected him: "You want a little vodka, but you want a lot of l'chaim!" Well said. It's Adar, let's increase our joy and increase our l'chaim!

I don't usually report too much on Saturday's events, but since Shabbat involvement this past Saturday was so eventful, I feel the need. Ten students and one faculty member were at Chabad by the sea Saturday morning (in addition to the other community members), and everyone enjoyed the lavish Kiddush after prayers, sponsored by Reuven (in memory of his father) and Ze'ev's parents (in honor of Ze'ev's birthday). Reuven spoke a bit about his father, and related the story of how his father's family was driven out of Belarus with pitch-forks. Reuven is a pillar of our community, and I'm sure his father is proud of him.

After the Kiddush, six of us crashed the Chabad Student Center for Shabbat lunch, where Shlomie gave a drash about the Ark, how it was constructed of three layers: gold, inside of wood, inside of gold. The main part I remember is that sometimes you might put on the appearance of gold on the outside, but feel like wood on the inside (which is subject to rot and worms). But you should know that your essence is gold, which I believe was a metaphor for the G-dly soul, which is there even if you don't feel it sometimes. It's the truth.

Also, fourth-year student Tziporah Hoffman spoke about the second verse of parshas Terumah, and related a story about why Hashem says "take for Me an offering" instead of "give to Me an offering" (hopefully I can recall it correctly). There was a miser who took his miserliness very seriously, and never gave charity, ever. Once he was on a ship, and by chance he fell off into the water, and was faced with certain death. A small boat pulled up to save him, and someone on the boat reached his hand out and said, "Give me your hand!" All the drowning miser heard was "Give!" and he adamantly refused, thinking that the man wanted a donation. So the man on the boat kept yelling "Give me your hand! Give it to me!" but the miser refused. Finally, the man on the boat yelled, "Take my hand!" and the miser realized, and he grabbed it and was saved. So I guess the point is that Hashem doesn't really need us or our terumah, but by putting out His hand and saying "take for Me," we're really helping each other. Did I mess that up? It was really good when Tzipi said it, anyway. So, after that we made l'chaim and sang a few nice zmiros, (including the classic Starwarser Niggun).

Third meal was pretty sweet at the Bochur Pad. And as far as havdalah, well, you can see for yourself. Shavua tov everyone, or have a gut voch if that's your thing.


Blogger Fedora Black said...

Thanks for the great Shabbos update. It's great to know what goes on in SC.

As for the number game, I don't see why anyone would mind at all. The two programs at Hillel and Chabad are really different.

The Chabad Student Center has more or less a standard program for Shabbos, a traditional service and a traditional meal. And while there are special guests and themes sometimes, you know that you get the same heimish taste of Shabbos every time.

Hillel does a non-traditional service, and sometimes multiple services, and varies its program and often its location quite a bit from time. So one week a given Hillel Shabbos may be just right for you, and the next week it might not.

Mon Mar 06, 10:30:00 AM 2006  
Blogger JewSlug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Mon Mar 06, 07:49:00 PM 2006  
Blogger JewSlug said...

Where's the video at G-D SQUAD?

Mon Mar 06, 07:50:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Frum Mommy said...

Hey, that's a funny video. Besides the Itchy Kadoosy show Frum Baby really finds these home movies funny. Thanks for the entertainment!

Wed Mar 08, 11:43:00 AM 2006  

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